What’s next in the tropics?

Reporter: Dylan Federico
Published: Updated:

After a busy start to September, the tropics have once again cooled back off with no active tropical systems in the Atlantic.

The recent burst of activity featured Danielle and Earl, both of which became hurricanes that tracked harmlessly out to sea. Even with an active start to September, its been the least active hurricane season since at least 2015, which featured the strongest El Nino in recorded history. To put things in perspective, Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which is a scoreboard for tropical activity which measures storm duration and intensity, is running about half of the average for September 12th.

So what’s next? There are currently no active named storms in the Atlantic basin, which is unusual considering the climatological peak of hurricane season was September 10th. However, there are signs that things may pick back up soon.

The National Hurricane Center is highlighting two tropical waves in the tropical Atlantic. Both waves both have a low chance of development as they generally move westward over the next five days. However, dry air looks to be an inhibiting factor, which has been the case with almost every disturbance this season.

The tropical wave in the central Atlantic has a better shot at development over the next week or so. It’s very large, which will make it more resilient to dry air. Meanwhile, wind shear out ahead of it looks relatively favorable for slow organization. The wave closer to Africa doesn’t look as impressive and is likely to take more of a path out to sea even if it were to get better organized.

By this weekend, the front runner will be in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Computer models aren’t overly excited about it, but there is a low-end signal for some possible tropical mischief. We’ll keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, the wave behind it will be getting strung out in the central Atlantic.

Looking further down the pipeline, there are a couple of strong tropical waves over Africa. There’s some model signal that these waves will try to develop in the Atlantic. But for now, they’re thousands of miles away, and there’s plenty of time to watch.

The next names on the list are Fiona, Gaston, and Hermine.

The Weather Authority will continue closely monitoring the tropics, but for now, there’s nothing to be concerned about.

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